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The Lion of the Senate

At 70, Maryland’s longest-serving Senate President isn’t stepping aside anytime soon

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Reality set in during the 11th hour of the final day of the General Assembly last April at the State House in Annapolis. The last day of session—known as sine die, which in Latin means to adjourn without assigning a further date to return—often goes late into the night, with the state Senate and House of Delegates working overtime to pass hundreds of last-minute bills. When the clock strikes midnight, confetti and balloons drop from the balcony and the state’s lawmakers go home until next year. On April 9, 2012, there was no confetti or balloons.

With time running out to pass a series of bills that make up the state’s multi-billion dollar budget, House Speaker Michael Busch attempted to extend the session, only to have such a motion rejected by the Senate. In the end, the legislature met its constitutional duty to pass a balanced budget, but failed to advance a revenue bill for the first time in two decades, thus incurring hundreds of millions of dollars in “doomsday” education and public-safety cuts. Read more